Library in the News: January 2015 Edition

More than 112,000 patrons visited the Library of Congress exhibition “Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor”  during its brief 10-week viewing, which ended Jan. 19.

“Much has been written about Magna Carta’s current visit to America, particularly in relation to the inchoate liberties it birthed. Rightly so,” wrote Kevin R. Kosar for The Weekly Standard. “The Magna Carta’s importance cannot be understated. It is font of the liberties we enjoy today.”

“So the Great Charter is more compelling as a reflection of a broader human quest, and its momentum ever since, despite the autocratic rulers, injustices, and conflicts spread across those eight centuries,” wrote Robin Wright for the New Yorker. “Its spirit, however erratically, has only deepened.”

The Washington Post highlighted the exhibition in its KidsPost section. Reporter Marylou Tousignant explained why the charter was important and the significance of its legacy.

“Magna Carta was the first charter to support the rights of the individual,” she wrote. “And although it was signed in another time and place, it was embraced by the Founding Fathers of the United States more than 550 years later as they wrote the new nation’s Constitution and Bill of Rights.”

Continuing to make news in January was the all-star tribute concert honoring Billy Joel as the recipient of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The concert aired on PBS Jan. 2. Covering the concert was Stav Ziv for Newsweek. Ziv spoke to several of the concert participants, including LeAnn Rimes, Gavin DeGraw and Twyla Tharp, in addition to Library officials.

Suzanne Hogan, special assistant to the Librarian of Congress told Ziv that  you could see members of the “U.S. Senate tapping their toes and mouthing the words to ‘Piano Man,’ sharing a common moment and common experience,” whatever their political inclinations and personal backgrounds might be, he reported.

Reminding readers that the Library of Congress has a wealth of resources for researchers, Roll Call presented a “refresher” on how to get acquainted with the institution’s collections.

“Whether you are new in town or just haven’t gotten around to perusing the wealth of knowledge maintained by the Library of Congress, now is the time to get schooled in the art of getting one’s proper learn on,” wrote Warran Rojas.

Speaking of collections, the Library has placed more than 400 images from Chilean-born photographer Camilo José Vergara on its website.

“This is the first step toward making more than 10,000 works available to the public,” William Grimes reported for the Artsbeat blog at the New York Times. “The project is open-ended. As Mr. Vergara continues to shoot, his work will be sent to the library and displayed online.

And, lastly, the Law Library of Congress blog, In Custodia Legis, was named one of ABA Journal’s annual “Blawg 100.”

Instrumentally Yours

The late 19th century gave rise to some truly imaginative, public-minded Americans. We all know about the Thomas Edisons, the Henry Fords, the Garrett Morgans. But there were others who, while not household names today, lived very interesting lives and left behind fascinating legacies. Among these we find Dayton C. Miller, born on a farm […]

Library in the News: November 2014 Edition

The Library of Congress featured prominently in November news with the opening of a special exhibition and the celebration of a special individual. On Nov. 6, “Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor” opened with much fanfare, featuring the 1215 Magna Carta, on loan from Lincoln Cathedral in England and one of only four surviving copies issued […]

A Prize for the Piano Man

Last Wednesday, the Library of Congress celebrated the music and career of singer-songwriter Billy Joel, awarding him the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. A star-studded cast walked a packed house at the DAR Constitution Hall through Joel’s own songbook during a tribute concert. I myself had the honor and privilege to also take the stage as a […]

Pic of the Week: Dr. Funkenstein

                          In 1994, I had the pleasure of meeting funk singer-songwriter George Clinton while attending the Lollapalooza music festival in New Orleans. Clinton and his P-Funk All Stars were main-stage performers that year. A friend of mine and myself were able to get […]

Pianist, NLS Making Beautiful Music Together

Jazz pianist Justin Kauflin is quick to laugh and down to earth, taking his national success in stride, especially for a 28-year-old musician. Kauflin has a CD of his original music coming out in January, is currently promoting a documentary film about his friendship with noted jazz trumpeter Clark Terry and has toured with the […]

Opera Onstage, Drama Offstage

Today marks the anniversary of the opening of the original Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, on Oct. 22, 1883.  This is the hall, no longer in existence, where Enrico Caruso performed “Vesti La Giubba” in “Pagliacci”; where Geraldine Farrar sang “Un Bel Di,” in “Madame Butterfly.”  Thanks to radio broadcasts, it was the […]

Documenting Dance: The Making of “Appalachian Spring”

(The following is an article written by Raymond White, senior music specialist in the Music Division, for the September-October 2014 issue of the Library of Congress Magazine, LCM. You can read the issue in its entirety here.) When “Appalachian Spring” debuted at the Library of Congress on Oct. 30, 1944, the one-act ballet made dance history. Set in […]

Bringing the “Banner” to Light

(The following is an article written by Mark Hartsell, editor of the Library of Congress staff newsletter, The Gazette, in honor of the Star Spangled Banner, which celebrates its 200th anniversary this year. To commemorate the anniversary, the Library is hosting a concert featuring baritone Thomas Hampson on July 3.) The story of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” for many […]